Who am I, at the core, if I fix myself? Who am I, if I let go of all of the baggage that I have been carrying around for years? Who can I be if I no longer feel the weight of 1000 regrets with every step? These are the questions that ping pong around my head as I sit here, staring at an empty word document. I haven’t been able to write in weeks, much less formulate a constructive idea for an essay.
For years I have felt the sting of internal, repressed pain bite at my conscious. I have allowed the hurt, the anger at the world to first manifest in angst and rebellion, but then in a drive that seemed unmatched. I left home and traveled the country due to a deep seeded need to prove to myself that I wasn’t a waste. I allowed heartbreak and rejection to pen the words of every poem and essay I ever wrote, I took steps with regret, aiming to prove that I deserve this breathe I was given. But what now? Now, that I have found a temporary plateau of peace, a simple mind of ease, and a life that is worth living, what does that make me?
I have sat down every day for the past three weeks and began to write. I have started twelve different documents with a sentence a piece. I started into words, typed and retyped, only to delete it all. I turned to listening, reading, and speaking hoping to ignite a spark, but nothing seems to come. How do I learn to write when I am happy? How to I learn to write when I have found someone worthy of love? How do I learn to write when I have become someone who another could love? When I have found influence in my circle, and found a path worth following?
Not all days are beautiful. Sometimes the heavy burden of being hits me like a hammer and I find myself face down on the steering wheel, on the side of the Alaska Parks Highway sobbing because the world feels like it is ending, and because despite having everything I could ever want, I still feel empty inside. Sometimes I feel the weight of responsibility of a flailing brother, an aimless generation, and a struggling, nihilistic, societal system, but it is different. I no longer work to prove the world wrong about me. I no longer have to defend my existence in every conversation, every interaction. I very seldom feel guilt for opening my mouth anymore, and less often have to apologize for the words I say.
I guess the point I am rambling about is: Once I have conquered my demons, befriended my shadow, slayed the dragons, found someone worthy of love, become someone worthy of love, attempted to teach meaning to my family and peers, and overcome a heavy heart, where else do I find purpose? This is where I am now.
I spent a long time studying psychology and philosophy to fix myself, and while I am by no means where I should be (I am still sensitive over trivial things, I can sometimes be arrogant, I get frustrated and withdrawal, etc) I am no longer kept awake at night with a burning sensation to make life livable. I no longer feel the need to spend every second searching for words that will make life seem reasonable, I no longer imitate every author who seemed to escape this travesty, I no longer feel broken. So how do I write?
How do I redefine success? How do I convince my psyche that I don’t need to write, to speak, to piece together words of peace in order to feel fulfilled. How do I see success as love? As generosity? As meaning?
When I first left home, I thought that that would make me happy, or in better terms, ease the unrest that lie on my chest. When it didn’t I thought that speaking or, or holding fancy positions would. I thought fascinating stories of achievement, or an understanding of positive psychology would heal me. When those failed, I turned to veganism, then to Philosophy, then back to psychology, then to writing, and then I finally turned to Alaska. And after all of that, the only thing I realized is that no matter what I did, no matter who I met, no matter how many people read my work, and no matter how wise my words sounded, I was by no means happier, and more importantly, I suffered no less.
It wasn’t until I aimed for meaning that the suffering seemed to cease. It wasn’t until I took myself apart, and started at every sinew of shadow I held inside, every repressed heartbeat that I began to feel the weight lift off of my shoulders. It is ironic, that in a world where suffering is an absolute, the only way to ease it is to acknowledge. Once you accept that all life is suffering, it seems to cease to suffer.
So now that I have found love, that I have found a being worth his breath, that I have healed my soul and ceased the repressed manifestations, what does that make me? If I feel satisfied with life’s current offerings, and if I no longer feel the need for fame, how do I redefine success? If I let go of all my pain, if I stopped carrying the burden of generations, if I fixed myself, how do I make art? And if I can’t make art, if I can’t think critically, if love and peace blinds me from the nihilistic suffering we endure, then what now? And if ending the suffering meant ending the meaning that was found in ending the suffering, then was it all worth it?